Lawyers’ group mourns loss of Karapatan activist

Published August 21, 2020, 2:47 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

An organization of lawyers on Friday, Aug. 21, expressed sadness over the killing of one of the members of human rights group Karapatan in Bacolod City.


“On Karapatan’s 25th founding anniversary, we mourn the loss of its paralegal Zara Alvarez, who endured all forms of threats and harassment for her tireless dedication in defending people’s rights,” read the statement of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) posted on its Facebook page.

“We join its righteous indignation over the state-sponsored killings of its human rights workers Bernardino ‘Ka Toto’ Patigas, Ryan Hubilla, Nelly Bagasala, and eight others under the current regime,” it added.

NUPL said Karapatan’s human rights defenders have “tirelessly provided services to victims of human rights violations and their families and supported their quest for justice.”

“They have indefatigably gathered and exposed the truth behind the most vicious attacks on human rights by the State, even as they themselves were vilified and became targets of repression,” the group said.

“They never relented despite being subjected to incessant red-tagging, terrorist-labeling and judicial harassment,” it added.

The NUPL said the human rights group has “always turned its grief and rage into the courage to continue advancing human rights and civil liberties.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said recently that a team from its Administrative Order (AO) 35 task force that investigates extrajudicial killings will investigate the killing of Alvarez.

DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete explained the move was made at the recommendation of the AO35 Secretariat for “the inclusion of the Zara Alvarez case in the docket of the task force.”